Pacemaker animation 

Pacemaker implantation involves surgically placing an electrical device into the chest to help your heart beat normally. This animation explains what causes an irregular heartbeat and how a pacemaker can correct it.

Read the Preparing for your pacemaker implantation FAQs

Transcript of Pacemaker animation

Pacemaker implantation is a surgical procedure

that involves implanting an electrical device into the chest

to help your heart beat normally.

It is used to treat conditions that cause an abnormal heartbeat.

Let's take a closer look at the heart

and how it regulates its own pumping mechanism naturally.

The heart is a muscle which regularly contracts and relaxes

to pump oxygen-rich blood through the blood vessels

to the organs, muscles and nerves.

It is composed of four hollow chambers:

two atria

and two ventricles.

The contraction of the heart muscle is controlled by electrical signals

that spread through the heart tissue.

A special area called the sino-atrial node

repeatedly sends out tiny electrical impulses

to the left and right atria,

causing them to contract and squeeze blood into the two ventricles.

The electrical impulse then travels through a collection of cells

called the atrioventricular node

to the ventricles

causing them to contract simultaneously.

This pumps blood out of the heart to the rest of the body.

At rest, a normal heart beats between 60 and 100 times a minute.

Several conditions can affect the speed and regularity of the natural heartbeat,

including:

An artificial pacemaker helps the heart beat normally.

It takes over the role of the heart's natural pacemaker

by sending electrical impulses through special wires,

or pacing leads, to the heart.

The specific type of pacemaker used depends on the condition being treated,

but it typically consists of a small box containing a battery

connected to a pacing lead or leads

that carry the electrical impulse to the heart.

Let's see how a typical pacemaker is implanted.

The chest area is numbed with a local anaesthetic

and you will stay awake.

A small cut is made under the collarbone

and the pacing lead is inserted through a vein to the heart.

The other end is connected to the pacemaker,

which is fitted inside a pocket under the skin of your chest.

After the procedure, you should feel back to normal

or even better very quickly.

Regular and ongoing follow-up appointments

will ensure that the pacemaker is working well.

Last reviewed: 14/09/2010

Next review due: 14/09/2012

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